At 7:00 am this Sunday I will embark on the most significant sporting challenge of my life, a half-Ironman in and around the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. Eagleman, as it's known, is one of the fastest races of its distance in the world, and one of the most competitive in the US. The course is flat, but very windy. And I mean windy. The Choptank River is also highly unpredictable. Last year had some really fast times, thanks to favorable currents. It can change from year to year and no knowing what's in store until the morning.
The bike course is so flat that you can't take off for even a second. That means 56 miles of pedaling. No hills to coast down to get your legs back, just pure pedaling. The run encompasses most of the first part of the ride, so again it's just flat and it's very boring. Temperatures can really start to get toasty by the run, and the sun is typically brutal. It's a grueling distance to race, 4+ hours of very hard effort.
Of course I know what my goal is, and really won't be satisfied with anything less. That's not to say if I don't achieve my goal that I'll be upset, just not satisfied.
Anyway, we're now just a few days away from the odyssey, and I plan on posting a little summary each day of how I'm feeling prior to the race. I have to say, I'm a little nervous right now, as my right foot is really hurting. It started on Wednesday evening after a slow and rocky run through Robert E. Lee Park. Thursday didn't feel great, and with the travel to Wisconsin and the weather, I just took off. I tried to run on Friday, it was a slow 6 miles followed by an even slower 5 miles with Sgrizzi and Kootman. Foot hurt bad. Saturday I woke up and it felt even worse. We ran a very slow 5 miles. I got home yesterday and just went to the pool. I'm taking ibuprofen a few times a day and plan on not running again until Wednesday or Thursday if need be. I'm hoping some last minute rest will be better than trying to continue to run on it.
If I had to race today, well, let's just say I don't think I would finish.